ALL Brits aged over 18 could get the Covid vaccine within the next month, as the race against the Indian variant shifts up a gear.
The vaccine rollout is scheduled to reach those aged 30 and over next week, while extra supplies are being sent to areas worst-hit by the worrying new variant.
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Ministers have confirmed that the Government is on track to meet its target – to offer first doses to all adults by the end of July.
But according to reports from the Telegraph, NHS managers have begun plans to speed up the timetable, amid concerns about the spread of the Indian variant among the younger cohorts.
Those aged 34 and over would be offered jabs from today, with texts inviting people to book a vaccination sent out today and tomorrow.
Younger folk in their thirties are expected to be invited within days.
Plans drawn up by NHS managers suggested vaccines could be offered to over 18s within the next five weeks.
This would place the rollout a month ahead of Government targets, with Brits in their early 20s receiving their first doses in the first or second week of June.
The news comes as it emerges that cases of the Indian variant have quadrupled in just a fortnight across Britain.
Surge testing has been deployed in eight new hotspots, Matt Hancock confirmed this afternoon.
Britain has now recorded almost 3,000 cases of the variant – up from 520 on May 5.
And the Health Secretary said infections have risen from 2,323 two days ago, to 2,967 today.
In light of the growing concerns, surge testing and vaccinations are being sent to the areas worst hit by the Indian variant, to boost uptake among all those eligible.
Hounslow, Leicester, Kirklees and North Tyneside were among those areas targeted.
The government is prioritising speeding up second doses to over-50s, in spite of calls for a widespread rollout of vaccines to younger people.
Taking these accelerated plans into consideration, all over 50s could be fully vaccinated by June 7.
Meanwhile, services in some areas – London, Bedford and Bolton, to name a few – had found ways to target younger groups, and were jabs to offering multi-generational households.
Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, said: “the success of the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme, the biggest in history, is not by accident but down to careful planning and precision by NHS staff who have now delivered 48.5 million doses in less than six months”.
“Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities against Covid-19, so when you’re called, book your appointment and join the tens of millions who have already been jabbed.”
On Wednesday evening Matt Hancock revealed thousands of Brits will receive coronavirus booster jabs in a world-first trial.
The Health Secretary said the trial would help "fool proof" the UK's response to the pandemic.
It's hoped that the booster jabs will help prevent an autumn wave of the virus in the UK.
People receiving the booster shot will have to be 30 or over and will need to have been jabbed early on in the vaccine programme.
This could mean people over the age of 75, as well as health and care workers would receive the extra jab as part of the trial.
So far in the UK 36.9 million people have received a first dose of a coronavirus jab, with 20.8 million now having had a second.
Yesterday, scientists said the Indian variant may not be as transmissible as first feared.
Cases in India were reportedly declining rapidly, leading some experts to think an initial spike may have been driven by the “founder effect”.
This occurs when a small number of people infect a larger number of people than normal, sparking a change in dominant strain.
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